Dum Spiro Spero

Dum Spiro Spero

Seamus O’Mahony

Many patients with a debilitating terminal disease might, one would think, be glad to hear their time is short. Still, ignoring the statistics, oncologists will offer ‘hope’ and more treatment. Why, asks the old doctors’ joke, do coffins have nails? To keep the oncologists out.

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Jagged Lines and Smooth Numbers

Jagged Lines and Smooth Numbers

Harry Clifton

Robert Lowell once said that all problems in art are ultimately technical problems and and it is the jaggedness of line of Derek Mahon's most famous poem, “A Disused Shed in Co. Wexford”, that sets it apart from many other accomplished pieces.

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In Two Minds

In Two Minds

David Kenny and Rosemary Hennigan

The publication of Harper Lee’s ‘Go Set A Watchman’ upset many fans of ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’. Nevertheless it may well present a more accurate picture of what is actually involved in practising law and of the conflict between purely procedural law and justice.

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From On High

Jamie Blake Knox

Choosing a suitable person in the nineteenth century to write a history of the Irish Anglican church was a complex matter, for identity was not just a matter of religious doctrine: it also related to ethnic and political allegiance and to relations with Catholics and Presbyterians.

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We Know Nothing

James Moran

A new book on Irish immigrants in Manchester raises wider issues of anti-immigrant prejudice and racism while helping us to reconceive the geographies of Irishness and the locations and spaces in which a migrant Irish identity has been articulated and sustained.

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Picturing the People

Catherine Marshall

Daniel Macdonald’s ‘An Irish Peasant Family Discovering the Blight of their Store’ is perhaps a strange painting for a man wanting to make his career in London to produce. Macdonald’s sympathy for the downtrodden and their culture is unique in his generation.

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Speak, Memory

Jane Clarke

A new study focuses on three generations of women poets, born between 1942 and 1983, exploring commonalities and differences across and within the generations through their engagement with memory, in all its fluidity and instability, as muse.

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Do Right Man

Manus Charleton

An initiative sponsored by President Higgins rightly locates ethics as not just a matter of personal behaviour or minimalist professional codes, but as forming the moral fabric of society through values and principles operating within its institutions and practices.

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God and Reason

Angelo Bottone

In traditional accounts, Meister Eckhart has usually been presented as a mystical religious thinker. But a new study argues convincingly that this is a misinterpretation and that Eckhart is a ‘philosopher of Christianity’ who explains Christian beliefs through pure reason.

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Love and Other Matters

Deirdre Serjeantson

Francesco Petrarcha bequeathed to the Renaissance a particular way of writing about love. Shakespeare’s Romeo is just one of his disciples. But love was not the only string to Petrarch’s bow; he was also an archaeologist, classical scholar and respected moral philosopher.

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The Analyst as Eeyore

Tom Hennigan

Fintan O’Toole’s narrow focus allows him to portray Irish public life as suffering a grave malaise, a condition one could almost say was unique to our society. His closely cropped view allows him to denounce our public services as “squalid”. But squalid compared to what or to where?

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We’re No Angels

Philip O’Leary

Máirtín Ó Cadhain’s masterpiece ‘Cré na Cille’, which portrayed the meanness and bitter scurrility of the inhabitants of a Conamara graveyard, lacked an English translation for over sixty years. Now it has two, each, in their different ways, doing the classic work full justice.

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A Little Lost

Thomas Christie Williams

When the first rough draft of the human genome was sequenced in 2000, President Clinton announced: ‘Without a doubt, this is the most important, most wondrous map ever produced by human kind.’ Now it seems that the difficulties that lay ahead were underestimated.

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What Lies Behind

Matthew Parkinson-Bennett

For John Berger, the truly great artists are those who struggle to break through to the other side. The struggle is against tradition and convention, which serve the interests of the powerful by restricting human possibility to the superficial, immediate and given.

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Before the Flood

Connal Parr

A new memoir recalls an artistic and political controversy which rocked Northern Ireland more than fifty years ago, at a time when its labour traditions were still strong and the Northern Ireland Labour Party attracted a quarter of the vote and the loyalty of much of Belfast’s working class.

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Follow the Money

John Bradley

We would like to think that finance is the handmaiden of politics and can be bent to the will of benign policy-makers. But forces inherent in the financial system, national and international, have often historically pre-determined political and economic outcomes.

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Towards the Light

John Saunders

A diagnosis of schizophrenia was once regarded as ‘the kiss of death’. However we now know that with effective and multiple interventions people with even the most acute condition can make a significant recovery and contribute to their community as valued citizens.

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Red, Pink and Blue

Samuel Freeman in 'The New York Review of Books' finds Roger Scruton’s inclusion of American progressive liberal thinkers in his general denunciation of hard left theorists unconvincing.

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No Plaster Saint

Theo Dorgan

James Connolly’s participation in the 1916 Rising was part of a calculated gamble. Glorifying him as an exponent of physical force politics, however, is a corruption of his beliefs and hopes, a travesty of his analysis, a grotesque and impermissible appropriation.

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On The Money

In the London Review of Books John Lanchester envisages the possible disappearance, facilitated by new secure technologies, of money and banks. Would this be a good thing or would it make it even more difficult than it already is to recycle corporate profits for public goods in the shape of schools, hospitals, roads and police services?

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Unwoven

Brendan Lowe

A sonnet sequence by the poet Micheal O’Siadhail traces his experiences over the two-year period which culminated in his wife’s death from a terrible disease which makes war on human dignity.

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Half The Man

Thomas Fitzgerald

A new biography of Patrick Pearse neglects the important cultural and educational sides of his achievement and fails to build on or even engage with previous studies of the man who is probably the most interesting of the 1916 rebels.

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The Thing With Feathers

Adam Wyeth

Nuala O’Connor’s novel Miss Emily is more than a portrait of a poet executed with exquisite precision. It offers a fresh, enhancing approach to Dickinson’s inner life, showing a woman with zest and independence of mind.

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Hard and Soft

Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin

The virtues of Jane Clarke’s first verse collection include a broad sympathy that never usurps the voice of the other, a pleasure in ingenious objects and crafts that is deftly transmitted and a clarity which does not deny mystery but makes room for it.

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On a Wing and a Prayer

Patrick Gillan

In 1978 John Zachary DeLorean made a successful pitch for British state aid to start production in West Belfast of what he said would be the “world’s most ethical mass production car”. There was very little that was ethical about what followed.

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Witnessing

Keith Payne

The answer then as to why tell these women’s stories, why write this, why read this, are the poems themselves. As with all the important questions, the questions that need to be asked and often can only be formulated by a poet, the poem is the answer.

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Voices from Elsewhere

Tom Tracey

Rob Doyle’s new collection demands to be read if for no other reason than to observe what the new generation of talent is beginning to produce by way of a tradition moving steadily away from McGahern’s Ireland into a foreignness no less real for being in no way green.

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The First and Last Word

Aiden O’Reilly

The absence of a plot will no doubt annoy some readers of Tom McCarthy’s new novel, but others will barely notice in their search for a thematic unity to its various obsessions and recurring imagery.

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A Larkinite In Power

Barry Desmond

Frank Cluskey had some very considerable achievements to his credit as a Labour Party minister in coalition governments, but he found himself at odds with many in his party, in particular over attitudes to the violence that was then beginning to unfold in the North.

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Curation Once Again

John Fanning

The current vogue for the term curation arose in tandem with the conceptual art movement, where the idea or concept of art took precedence over the traditional aesthetic, but accelerated in the 1990s when the boundaries between big art, big business and big data began to erode.

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War in Words

Carlo Gébler

And by wars what he had in mind, Gerald Dawe went on to explain, were not only those that one might expect Irish poets to write about (“the Easter Rising, the War of Independence, and the civil war in Ireland”) but those other twentieth century wars, including the Great War, the Spanish Civil War and the Second World War.

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The King’s Man

Graham Price

During the reign of Elizabeth, Shakespeare had concentrated on English political history, but following the accession of the Scottish King James and the Gunpowder Plot, the strife and politics of Britain as a whole would become the focus of Shakespearian drama.

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Getting to Grey

Liam Hennessy

Bipolar disorder has been explained as an attempt to create a world in which everything is either black or white. The illness can only be treated, it is suggested, when the important third element is introduced.

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Astonished at Everything

Peter Sirr

Generosity and largeness of vision seem to meet happily in the poems of Uruguayan-French writer Jules Supervielle, which seem to cover great distances in short spaces.

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All or Nothing

Joschka Fischer

Those Germans who argue so vehemently against a so-called transfer union should realise that the EU has always been such a union. France got the CAP for its large rural economy and Germany the common market for its strong industry. Little has changed since.

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Birds, beasts and flowers

Gerald Dawe

DH Lawrence’s poetry offers a record of the powerful current of physical pleasure, the elusive joy of witnessing that which is different, and the kind of opinionated prickliness when things are not what they seem to be or should be.

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The Stilled World

Nicola Gordon Bowe

Unsentimental, sparing and unspecific, the painter Patrick Pye has sought figurative images to represent symbolically “the archetypes of our humanity” depicted in an alternative universe where expiation has been achieved.

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Poems Upstairs: New Poets from the North of Ireland

Readings from poets featured in New Poets from the North of Ireland, edited by Sinéad Morrissey and Stephen Connolly. Wed 1 June, 7pm.

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I’ll Mind Your Money

The wives of many of the Dublin poor received an unexpected bonus during the First World War while their husbands were away at the front in the form of 'separation money'. For many this was the first regular payment they'd ever had. Unfortunately not all of them spent it wisely.

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Ideal Homes

A distant prospect of a life of ease in the Big House is intoxicating to many. Nevertheless, not everything is necessarily as wonderful as it seems and the servants in particular can be a frightful problem.

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Carcanet’s Emerging Poets: Adam Crothers, Caoilinn Hughes and Helen Tookey

Three of Carcanet Press’s finest emerging poets, all distinguished alumnae of Carcanet’s bestselling New Poetries anthology series who have gone on to publish highly successful debut collections. Sat 11 June, 6.30pm.

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The Mob and the Jews

Two years after the opening of the Nazi extermination camps there was widespread anti-Jewish rioting in Britain, resulting in the burning of synagogues, destruction of property and desecration of graveyards.

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Women Won't Wait

Not everyone in Irish political life supported women's suffrage. In fact the idea was strongly opposed by many in the Irish Parliamentary Party and by the Ancient Order of Hibernians. Nevertheless, the independent state managed to get in well before the United Kingdom.

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Cakes, Ale and Learning

Lord Byron, exiled after a welter of scandals in England, found Venice a good place to pursue his normal interests of debauchery and adultery. But you can't hack that all the time without taking a rest.

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Suffragette Unionists

It is quite well known that the supposed solidarity felt between the working classes of different nations melted away fairly quickly on the declaration of the First World War. So too, apparently, did English suffragettes' sympathy for the aspiration to Irish independence.

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Don't Call Me That

Our friends the Czechs want us to call their country by a different name. But as all citizens of Ireland, Eire, the Republic, the South and the Twenty-six Counties know, this is not always a simple matter.

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Us And Them

The question of whether Britain should stay in the EU or leave will be settled as a purely transactional one: is it likely to be good for business or not? There is no point in appealing to a European vision for Britain has never had one.

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Imre Kertész: 1929-2016

The Hungarian writer and Nobel prizewinner Imre Kertész, who has died aged eighty-six, was deported to Auschwitz aged fourteen. Pondering on that experience, and more broadly on totalitarianism, was to provide him with the material for his life’s literary work.

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Still No Reckoning

The sentencing of Radovan Karadžic for crimes including ordering the Srebrenica massacre has been greeted as a cause of satisfaction. But what about all the other preceding massacres? When, asks Ed Vulliamy, will we see justice dispensed for them?

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Ireland And Antisemitism

English Catholic writers like GK Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc were very popular in Irish schools in the last century, Chesterton's prediction of the demise of Protestantism being particularly valued. But their entrenched antisemitism, or indeed any antisemitism, found very few takers in Ireland.

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We're all in this together

A conference to be held in Poland this autumn will consider the idea of solidarity, and by implication its current relative absence in Europe. Are there limits to how much solidarity can realistically be expected? Can we bring it back, or will 'national egotism' triumph?

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Nine Years of the Dublin Review of Books

Happy birthday to us as we enter our tenth year. The drb first appeared on St Patrick's Day 2007.

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Adrian Hardiman 1951-2016

We mourn the death of Adrian Hardiman, a powerful intellect, an advocate of civil liberties and a contributor to the Dublin Review of Books.

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Mothers and Fathers

Creative writers would seem to be well equipped to muse on certain lives they cannot have known. And why not the mysterious lives of their own parents, or that portion of those lives which occurred before the writing offspring were even born?

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New Books

Irish Literature

Featuring The Found Voice by Denis Sampson and Even the Daybreak: 35 Years of Salmon Poetry.

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World Literature

Featuring Graham Swift's Mothering Sunday and debut novel What Belongs to You by Garth Greenwell.

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Irish History & Politics

Featuring new biographies of Percy French and Daniel Binchy.

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World History & Politics

Featuring a ISIS: A History and a book about Churchill and Ireland.

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Irish Culture, Philosophy & Science

Featuring Patrick Deeley's memoir The Hurley-Maker's Son.

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World Culture, Philosophy & Science

Featuring The Way We Die Now by Seamus O'Mahony and artist Grayson Perry's book Playing to the Gallery.

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Ireland 1912 - 1922

Featuring a study of welfare and healthcare reform in revolutionary and independent Ireland, The End of the Irish Poor Law?

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More New Books ...